Cloud computing: it’s the next big thing. We’ve been hearing that since at least 2009, so one would imagine that by this stage cloud computing has become the big thing. And it is, for some people. These are people who are more than happy to use the variety of free and paid for cloud-based that are becoming increasingly prevalent. Some people still don’t trust it, at least not beyond Gmail. Still, more business owners are being convinced to join the cloud, which means that there is increased pressure on web developers to ensure that their cloud development skills are up to scratch.

The cloud presents web developers with some unique challenges and benefits. While the nuts and bolts of the job don’t change, not really, there are certain factors that need to be borne in mind. Security is an issue but systems are evolving at a rapid rate, to the point where the cloud is about as secure as any desktop software available. Downtime is also a concern but, generally, cloud service providers are very good at spotting and fixing problems to ensure that uptime is around 99.lots per cent.

On the upside

License: Creative Commons image source

The accessibility of the cloud means that developers can edit files from anywhere in the world, from any device in the world – as long as they have a connection. According to Jake Rocheleau (Speckyboy Design Magazine), a big advantage is that piracy ceases to be a major issue. This is because web developers don’t have to licence their products anymore and take their chances with black market imitations. Instead, they can offer their software for free on the cloud and charge per use instead of per licence.

According to Scott Clark (HTML Goodies), cloud-related benefits include in-browser page content editing, project specific task management, advanced svg image editing, flexible storage and in-browser FTP publishing.

Development in and out of the cloud

One of the things that are key to successful web development, according to Jake Rayson, is feedback. Whether developers are working in or out of the cloud, they need feedback from their clients to ensure that their software works as well as it’s supposed to. Without feedback, developers can’t improve and they can’t fix recurring problems simply because they aren’t aware of them.

The advantage of the cloud is that these fixes are relatively easy to implement.

Cloud computing is a big deal these days, there’s no getting around it. It’s a big deal for developers as well as consumers. There are advantages and challenges for both parties but one of the most important factors to bear in mind is that as the industry and the technology evolves, the disadvantages are giving way to even bigger advantages.

This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Dynamics Careers, which helps Microsoft Dynamics developers find jobs all over the world.